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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review of Linda O. Johnston-Oodles of Poodles


Shelter manager and pet rescuer Lauren Vancouver once again takes on the role of amateur sleuth when there’s a murder on a film set . . .
Has Hollywood gone to the dogs? Pet rescuer Lauren Vancouver is observing production on a new movie called Sheba’s Story. The title character—a white Miniature poodle—is played by many similar-looking poodles, and to make sure no animals are harmed, Lauren’s friend, veterinarian Carlie Stellan, and Grant, a handsome representative from the American Humane Association, are on location. But when the film’s director is killed in a suspicious hit-and-run after arguing with Carlie about animal safety, it’s up to Lauren to clear her friend’s name and catch a killer before someone else ends up in oodles of deadly trouble.

My Review:

Well, let me just start out by saying this book caused me to lose some sleep.  It was so good that I couldn’t put it down and had to stay up and finish it.  It was a great cozy mystery, especially if you love animals.  This book was very well written and definitely kept my attention.  I was kept guessing till the very end, which to me, is what makes a great cozy mystery.  Lauren is a very likable character.  She is a strong independent woman, a great role model.  It is the first book I’ve read by Linda Johnston, and it won’t be my last. 

Lauren Vancouver is the director of a pet rescue shelter, but she also solves murders.  In Oodles of Poodles, the poodles are in a movie that Lauren’s boss is helping to produce, so she is asked by him to be on the set on days that he can’t be there.  The director ends up being murdered.  Lauren starts asking questions on the set, because her good friend, Carlie, is the main suspect.  Lauren also rescues a dog that has a mystery attached to it.  Then, her pet rescue shelter gets broken into.  Does it have anything to do with her asking questions on the movie set about the murder, or is it about the dog she rescued.  Will Lauren solve the murder in time and will she keep any animals from being harmed.  I highly recommend reading this book to find out.

 I received a complimentary copy of this book for my participation in this blog tour.

Author Bio

Linda O. Johnston's first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the Year. Since then, Linda has had more short stories published, plus ten mysteries and eighteen romance novels.

Linda’s new Pet Rescue Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime is a spinoff from her successful Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series. The Pet Rescue Mysteries debuted in March 2011 with BEAGLEMANIA, followed in October 2011 by THE MORE THE TERRIER and in April 2012 by HOUNDS ABOUND. OODLES OF POODLES will be published in February 2013. Protagonist Lauren Vancouver runs a no-kill pet shelter in LA’s San Fernando Valley and will do anything to save animals. In the Pet Rescue Mysteries, “no-kill” means pets, not people!

Linda also writes paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne including the Alpha Force miniseries about a covert military unit of shapeshifters. So far, they include ALPHA WOLF, ALASKAN WOLF, and GUARDIAN WOLF, and the Nocturne Bites "Claws of the Lynx," which is contained in the print anthology AWAKENING THE BEAST. “Hawk’s Challenge” and “Cougar’s Conquest,” also Nocturne Bites, were published in October and November 2011, respectively. UNDERCOVER WOLF will be published early in 2013.

Linda's first Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel UNDERCOVER SOLDIER was published in July 2012.

Linda has also been a transactional lawyer and loves writing contracts as well as fiction. She has taught courses on romance writing at the California State University, Northridge College of Extended Learning and The Learning Annex in Los Angeles. She has spoken on romance writing and mystery writing at various chapters and conferences of the Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime chapters, the Independent Writers of Southern California, and the Surrey Writers’ Conference. She has additionally presented a variety of programs at libraries and bookstores.

Linda is a member of the Los Angeles chapters of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America, including the Los Angeles and Orange County chapters, and International Thriller Writers.

There is a giveaway with this tour to enter, follow the link below and fill out the form.  Follow all the blogs in the tour for extra entries.

Giveaway for Oodles of Poodles

Monday, January 28, 2013

Tommy Mann's Asleep in Heaven's Nursery

Have you experienced the loss of a child? Tommy Mann felt the heartrending grief of losing three children to miscarriages. Beginning his ministry as a pastor, he struggled to be strong for his wife and understand for himself why they had to endure so much loss. In the midst of the pain, God brought peace and eventual joy through the birth of a daughter.
Asleep in Heaven's Nursery includes the personal story of losing a child and offers comfort for grieving parents, addressing questions such as the following:
*When is a baby considered a life?
*Is my baby really in heaven?
*What will my baby look like in heaven?
*Is there an age of accountability?
*Is God punishing me?
*Is adoption really a good alternative to abortion?
*Can I be forgiven for my abortion?
Each issue is thoroughly addressed and given concrete scriptural and logical support. As one who has found hope picturing his lost children Asleep in Heaven's Nursery, Tommy Mann brings a powerful message of renewal and consolation.

My website is and my Twitter handle is @TommyCMann, and I am on Facebook at

Review-Victoria Pinder - Returning to Valentine

Contemporary Romance Novella
Title: Returning to Valentine
Author: Victoria Pinder
Date Published: 1/1/13

Nathan loves Beth, though he’s never believed she loved him. He left to get over her, and on Valentine’s Day he decided to risk everything, including his heart, and tell her.
Beth lost her heart to Nathan Sommers years ago. After a night at a friend’s wedding, he took off. She tried to move on, with a guy who she could’t love, but that didn’t work out. Now that it’s Valentine’s Day, she’s determined to go out and find her true love. Speed dating is better than no dating.
Why would Nathan show up now? Can she believe in love and happy ever after? And what will his mother do next to her if she lets him in?

My Review:
This was a very short and sweet love story.  I finished in around 10 or 15 minutes.  Beth has loved Nathan for a long time, but didn't think he loved her back, but he finds her on Valentine's day and professes his love.  Will Beth accept his love.  I liked it, just wish it were longer and am wondering what happens with Beth and Nathan.
I received a complimentary copy of this story for my participation in this blog tour.

Victoria Pinder

Author Bio:
Victoria Pinder also writing under Greta Buckle grew up in Irish Catholic Boston before moving to the Miami sun. She’s worked in engineering, then became a lawyer. After realizing she hates clients, she became a high school teacher. Teaching is fun, but writing is a passion. She wrote one hundred and one fan fiction stories online before deciding to transition into writing her own stories. Never ask her to republish her fan stories from age eleven- horribly written stories of princesses. Victoria dreams of writing professionally, where her barista can make her coffee and a walk on the beach, can motivate her tales. Theseus story came to her when she was a freshman in high school as her English teacher, the nun, told her how life was hard and tragedy teaches lessons. The sci fi stories come from years of Star Trek and Star Wars fandom. Victoria’s love of writing has kept her centered and focused. How is she crazy? The voices in her head are characters in novels and she’s not insane.
Contact Links

Review-Katie Andrews Potter-Going Over Home

Going over HomePicture and synopsis from goodreads

Maddox's life changed the day she read her real birthdate: May 17, 1820. Not 1990, like she’d been told all along. Sure, there had been clues: her mother's old-fashioned style, the fact that her parents refuse to talk about her grandparents, but she never could have guessed they were actually from the past. And if that wasn't enough, now she has to go back in time to live for good. She has descendants living now, and if she doesn't go back their lives will never be.

Once she figures out how to go back in time, she struggles with the impending change her life is about to take, and her relationship with shy, unassuming Henry Yancey: the man she is supposed to marry. But if the decision to go back isn't hard enough, she soon finds out there is someone who will stop at nothing to keep her from going back, and he's running out of time. Will Maddie fall for Henry, and will she be able to make it back in time before the portal closes?

Video Trailer

My Review:

This is the first book in Katie's Wayfaring Sisters Series.  I've never read a book like this before, I usually steer away from books like this, but I wasn't disappointed. 
The book started out with Maddie not realizing her life was any different than anyone else's.  Her parents were a little old fashioned and wouldn't tell her and her sisters anything about their past or of their family.  When Maddie starts school she starts to wonder, but her parents still won't tell her anything.  Finally when Maddie goes to college, with the help of her roommate, who happens to be a decendant, she figures out the whole story. 
This was a well told story with a good plot.  It had some intrigue and action in it also.  I really enjoyed it and look forward to the next Wayfaring sisters novel.  This book kind of changed my mind about time travel novels.  Great job Katie. 

I purchased this book on my own to do this review at the authors request.

About the Author

Katie Andrews Potter grew up in Carmel, Indiana and at an early age grew interested in her family history. She would (and still does) spend hours upon hours looking through old books and records searching for one more branch to her family tree. Katie has always enjoyed writing and has piles of old spiral-bound notebooks filled with stories. It was on one trip to an old cemetery in Brown County, Indiana in 2009 when the storyline for Going over Home popped in her head. What if you found your own name on a headstone? From that day on the story took a hold in her mind until it was fully formed. Going over Home will be published on Amazon's Createspace in June 2012.

Katie lives in Carmel (for now - she and her family are rehabbing a house on the near eastside of Indianapolis) with her husband, Ben and their 3-year-old daughter Eliana. They also have a zoo of pets - 3 dogs, 3 cats, and 6 fish.

Find Katie on Twitter @andrewspotter26

Friday, January 25, 2013

Review-Rita Garcia's Kaleidoscope Summer

Samantha Forrester has it all together. Deafness at age fifteen has not hampered her success. Life, although predictable, has hit a comfortable stride. Until.
Her world crumbles when secrets of the past are brought to light. She travels to Serenity Cove to settle her birth mother’s estate and search for her true identity. Samantha soon becomes enamored with the town. And then there’s police chief Logan Delatorre who startles her pulse, and grandparents who refuse to acknowledge her. More mystery unfolds when an attack is levied against her—someone wants her out of Serenity Cove.
Samantha’s faith is called into question when she stumbles over the need to forgive. Can Dr. Ellie Clarimonde help her connect the pieces of her past and learn the power of forgiveness?

My Review:
This was a charming book, I'll admit it started out a little slow for me, but once I got intrigued by it, it held my attention.  Samantha recently learned she was adopted and went to Serenity Cove to take care of her birth mother's estate.  While there she discovers a lot about herself.  She has some trouble at first and there is a tragedy, but she sticks it out and discovers herself.  I highly recommend this book.   This is the first book I've ever read by Rita Garcia and it was wonderful.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author for my participation in this blog tour.

Dr. Rita Garcia is an inspirational novelist—her imagination was creating stories when she was still too young to put pen to paper. Romance is a big part of her novels. Hope is an even larger element of the stories. Rita and her husband reside in Southern California. They have four adorable daughters and seven fantastic grandchildren who fill their lives with love and never a dull moment.
She is a Clinical Christian Counselor, licensed by the National Christian Counselors Association, and certified as a Biblical Christian Counselor by the American Association of Christian Counselors. She has a passion for helping others achieve their most important life goals.
Please visit Rita at her blog and website:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review-Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss-Love Finds You In Glacier Bay, Alaska


About Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska:
Singer Ginny Marshall is one signature away from the recording contract of her dreams-a deal that would guarantee success for the former foster child, who still struggles to bury the memories of her painful childhood. But Ginny needs advice from the one person who will look out for her best interests-her former fiancé, Brett Miller. She travels to the remote town of Glacier Bay, Alaska, where the town's colorful characters and stunning scenery provide respite from LA's pressures.
In Glacier Bay, Ginny discovers a box of old letters and is swept up in the love story between Clay, an early missionary to Alaska Territory, and Ellie, the woman who traveled there to be his children's governess. When Ginny is reunited with Brett in Glacier Bay, will she discover-as Ellie did-that healing and love are sometimes found in the most unexpected places?
Link to buy the book:   
My Review:
I really enjoyed this book.  It had a great message, that anything is possible when you give it over to GOD.  There were two stories set in two different time periods.  Ginny and Brett were engaqed, but Ginny called it off to follow her music career, but when she if offered a great opportunity she seeks out Brett in Alaska.  While there, she is given the letter's of Ellie and these letters change how Ginny thinks.   How does Ellie's story affect Ginny and Brett.  Who was Ellie?  I recommend reading this great book to find out.  Great job Tricia and Ocieanna, a wonderful collaboration.  It made me see  Alaska in a different light.  This book was very well written. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review for my participation in this blog tour.
 Meet the Authors: 
Tricia Goyer is the award winning author of over thirty books including Beside Still Waters, Remembering You, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences and is the host of Living Inspired. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

Find out more about Tricia at
Ocieanna Fleiss is a published author and editor. She lives with her husband and their four children in the Seattle area.

Find out more about Ocieanna at

Celebrate with Tricia and Ocieanna by entering their "Glacier Bay" Giveaway and RSVPing for their Facebook Party on Feb. 12th!


One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A gorgeous handmade “Glacier Bay” bracelet
  • A handmade cowl in "Glacier Bay" blues and greens
  • A bottle of custom-made "Glacier Bay" sparkle polish in blue
  • Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss and their two other “Love Finds You” titles {Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana, and Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington}
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 11th. Winner will be announced at the "Glacier Bay" Author Chat Party on February 12th. Connect with authors Tricia and Ocieanna, get a sneak peek of their new book projects, try your hand at the Alaska trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be great giveaways—gift certificates, books, and more!

So grab your copy of Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska, and join Tricia and Ocieanna on the evening of February 12th for a chance to connect with the authors and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 12th!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Blog Tour Review Reconstructing Jackson by Holly Bush and Interview

About the Book:
1867 . . . Southern lawyer and Civil War veteran, Reed Jackson, returns to his family’s plantation in a wheelchair. His father deems him unfit, and deeds the Jackson holdings, including his intended bride, to a younger brother. Angry and bitter, Reed moves west to Fenton, Missouri, home to a cousin with a successful business, intending to start over.
Belle Richards, a dirt poor farm girl aching to learn how to read, cleans, cooks and holds together her family’s meager property. A violent brother and a drunken father plot to marry her off, and gain a new horse in the bargain. But Belle’s got other plans, and risks her life to reach them.
Reed is captivated by Belle from their first meeting, but wheelchair bound, is unable to protect her from violence. Bleak times will challenge Reed and Belle's courage and dreams as they forge a new beginning from the ashes of war and ignorance.
My Review:
I really enjoyed this book, I had never read anything by Holly Bush before.  This is a touching story of Reed Jackson, who is a southern lawyer that was wounded in the Civil War and left in a wheel chair.  His father gave his inheritance to his younger brother, so Reed decides to move to Fenton, MO, where he has cousins.  Once there, everything that he has believed is challenged.  His cousins employ a black woman as manager of their hotel.  He meets Belle Richards, who is a dirt-poor farm girl.  He is enamored with her and after a tragedy he marries her.  She keeps challenging everything he believes, even taking in a black child.  Then he has to defend her brother, who is accused of murdering someone very close to Belle.  Reed does what he thinks is right by the law, but knows in his heart isn't right.  Reed proves that he will do anything for Belle.  This was a very well written book and a great story.  It kept my attention and was a fast read.  Great job Holly.  Keep up the good work.
 I received a complimentary copy of this book for participation in this blog tour.

About the Author:
Holly Bush was born in western Pennsylvania to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did not hold a full bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a restaurant for twenty years and recently worked as the sales and marketing director in the hospitality/tourism industry and is credited with building traffic to capacity for a local farm tour, bringing guests from twenty-two states, booked two years out. Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and has done public speaking on the subject.
Holly has been writing all of her life and is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly political and historical works. She has written four romance novels, all set in the U.S. West in the mid 1800’s. She frequently attends writing conferences, and has always been a member of a writer’s group.
Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, and was the vice-president of her local library board for years. She loves to spend time near the ocean and is the proud mother of two daughters and the wife of a man more than a few years her junior.




Do you outline your books before you begin to write them?

Hello Melina. I’m glad to be here. I do not outline or even know the entire plot of the book at the outset, but I do quickly know the arc or dramatic turn of the book. Mostly, I see characters in my head and record their actions and write their dialogue. With Reconstructing Jackson, I saw a man, a young man, in a wheel chair on a dusty train platform, with his trunk beside him looking around as if thinking about where to go next. I wondered why such a young man would be in a wheel chair, why no one was at the station to meet him. Where was he from, where was he going?

Can you tell us about the main characters in Reconstructing Jackson?

Reed Jackson has lost part of one leg and the full use of the other from a war injury. When he arrives home in a wheelchair, his father decides because of his injuries, he is unfit to carry on the Jackson legacy, and deeds the plantation to Reed’s younger brother. With that deed goes Reed’s fiancĂ© from a neighboring plantation. Reed’s mother urges him to move to Fenton, Missouri, where her nephew, Henry Ames’, operates a successful hotel and is eager to help his cousin get settled in a new town.
Belle Richards is dirt poor farm girl and lifetime resident of Fenton. She endures an abusive family with one quest in mind – learning how to read. Circumstances throw Reed and Belle together in a violent fashion.
Beulah Freeman manages The Ames Hotel for Reed’s cousin Henry. She is an oddity, as a former slave, to be in a position of responsibility, literate, and teaching others to read.
What's next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?

I have one more historical romance that I will publish this spring called Cross the Ocean. It is the story of a spinster Suffragette named Gertrude. In the fall of 2013, I will publish a women’s fiction novel that is complete and edited. I’m still working on the name of that one. I’m writing the follow-up to that novel right now and am about 30,000 words into it. It is the story of a newspaper reporter in a small conservative county in southeastern Pennsylvania. His newspaper is downsizing and he’s been told he’s got to write love advice for the paper’s Dear Abby-like column.

What is the most gratifying part of the process for you?

Typing the last paragraph at the end of an 80 or 90 thousand word book is very satisfying. With every book I’ve written there has been at least one point at which I thought I wouldn’t finish, couldn’t finish or maybe didn’t even want to. But then when I finally type that conclusion, that last bit of dialogue, I take a deep breath and say, “I made it.”
Now that my books are being read by the public there is something else very gratifying for me and that is hearing from readers. It is wonderful to get feedback and hear their comments. Thanks for having me Melina!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Blog Tour Review-Secretly Smitten

About Secretly Smitten:
Summer, fall, winter, spring-Smitten, Vermont, is the place for love . . . and mystery!

There's a secret in Grandma Rose's attic-a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to Smitten. How did the dog tags end up in the attic?
The mystery intrigues Rose's three granddaughters-Tess, Clare, and Zoe-and they decide to investigate, though their mother, Anna, warns against meddling. But as the seasons turn and the mystery unravels, the three young women and their mother encounter some intriguing mystery men of their own. Has a sixty-year-old puzzle sparked something new for this close-knit family of women?

My Review:

This book was really good.  It is a book of four novellas by real life best friends Colleen Coble, Kristen Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter.  What makes it so good and unique is that, even though, they are seperate novellas, they all intertwine.  They are about the Thomas family Tess, Zoe, Anna (the Mom) and Clare and their seperate quests for love, but in each story is the mysery of the dog tags that were found in Grandma Rose's attic.  This culminates into a surprise at the end of the last novella.  I thouroughly enjoyed this book and almost finished it in on complete setting, but not quite.  Great job ladies, hope to see more in the future about the town of Smitten, VT.

I recieved a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review for participating in this blog tour with Litfuse.

Join popular romance novelists-and real-life BFFs-Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for four delightful intertwined tales of mystery and sweet intrigue.
Link to buy the book: 
Meet "The Gals":
RITA-finalist Colleen Coble is the author of several best-selling romantic suspense novels, including "Tidewater Inn", and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. * Christy Award finalist and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year award, Kristin Billerbeck has appeared on The Today Show and has been featured in the New York Times. Her books include "A Billion Reasons Why" and "What a Girl Wants." * Denise Hunter is the award-winning and best-selling author of several novels, including "A Cowboy's Touch" and "Sweetwater Gap." She and her husband are raising three boys in Indiana. * Diann Hunt has lived in Indiana forever, been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, her dog, and, well, chocolate.

Find out more about Coble, Billerbeck, Hunter, Hunt here.   

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review C.J. West-Dinner at Deadman's-Giveaway

  Synopsis:Lorado Martin has loved junk since his grandparents took him bottle digging in the backwoods of New England when he was a boy. The search for antiques and collectibles led him to a unique hobby: digging through the estates of the newly deceased, arranging the sale of goods for the heirs, and keeping the leftovers for himself.

To make a living he builds and maintains housing for recovering addicts and along the way he’s employed a number of his clients. The men wrestle with the siren call of drugs and teach Lorado about the difficult struggle to stay clean one day at a time.

When these two worlds come together, Lorado learns that not every elderly person dies of natural causes and that some estates are sold to benefit a killer. His latest project hits close to home. A woman he’s known since childhood haunts him from a fresh grave. Her grandson, an affable addict who has fallen off the wagon, stands to inherit a considerable sum whether he deserves it or not.

My Review: 

This book was well written, but it wasn’t something that I normally read.  I decided to review it because it said it was a mystery.  It is the story of Lorado Martin, who deals in estate sales and refurnishes old properties for recovering addicts.  He suspects one of the addicts that he is helping out of the crime of murdering his own grandmother.  I learned a lot about drug abuse from this book, it gave a good portrayal of abusers and what they will do for drugs.  It didn’t have enough mystery for me, though.  You didn’t figure out what the mystery was till about halfway through the book, other than that it was pretty good.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

The author has graciously offered to giveaway an ebook version of this book.  Just leave a comment below with your contact info (name and email) and I'll randomly pick a winner.

Author Bio:

C.J. West is the author of seven suspense novels including The End of Marking Time and Sin and Vengeance, which was optioned into development for film by Beantown Productions, LLC (screenplay by Marla Cukor).

Websites & Links:

C.J. blogs at You can also find him at or at

Book Details
Genre: Mystery
Published by: 22 West Books
Publication Date: November 2012
Number of Pages: 298

AMAZON link   
Barnes & Noble link
GoodReads link


Chapter One
February 17th. Nineteen degrees on a Friday night and I was tucked in a dead lady’s bed trying to convince myself the pressure in my gut wasn’t worth risking the cold oak and then the bathroom tiles. Sound miserable? Not for me. I wasn’t thinking about the punk heir or how silly I looked in a pink comforter covered with big red roses. I was a pig, belly deep in mud. No part of me wanted to move because I’d been treasure hunting all day. Everything was sore, especially my right elbow, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
You’re probably laughing. Picturing a fat guy in a pink blanket who fancied himself a pirate. I was no swashbuckler. Unwanted treasure was my specialty. New England might not have had gold or oil, but it was packed with loot.

My ancestors were either cowards or laggards. They landed on the Mayflower and walked inland far enough to get away from the Atlantic storm surge, but not so far they couldn’t run back to the boat if the Indians attacked. I couldn’t run back. I could walk if I lost a few pounds. Okay, probably not.
Every winter New Englanders dreamed of moving to Florida or South Carolina. Adventurous souls picked some island the rest of us had never heard of like Turks and Caicos. Not me. The South Coast was exactly where I belonged. New Bedford was the whaling capital of the world. Every old geezer who croaked had some scrimshaw or an oil lamp or something that had been around a few hundred years.

In the old days people had a bottle dump at the back corner of the foundation. Old timers scoured the woods and picked through old homesteads that had rotted into the ground. My grandparents took me along sometimes. They built tiers of wooden shelves in their cellar, a spooky mildew-coated place that had one of the last stone foundations built in the area. They collected thousands of bottles from two-toned brown jugs to tiny blue medicine bottles. One day I found a Fairbanks & Beard soda bottle and my grandfather gave me ten bucks for it. Ten bucks for something I dug out of the ground! I was hooked.

I didn’t wait for houses to fall down and their foundations to fill with leaves like my grandparents did. Yuppie kids called me even before their last parent was buried. They saw a house worth two hundred thousand, some cash, and investments. They browsed the jewelry and they were done. The rest of the stuff was just in the way. A bunch of junk that kept them from the big score. They wanted everything gone so buyers could start looking at the house.

That was my domain. All the stuff they didn’t want. Some of it was worth a whole lot more than that old F & B bottle with the green glass and jagged top. My last thirty years were dedicated to learning the difference.
At forty miles per hour I could spot a barrel of Lincoln Logs in somebody’s trash and slam the brakes in time to swing around and pick them out before the garbage truck got there. Put me in an old lady’s house and I was in heaven.

Everyone had some useless crap that never should have been made in the first place. Once that was gone, every single thing left was useful to somebody. The trick was matching them up. Every fork, can opener, end table, and cheesy 1970’s lamp was dying to make someone happy.

In about a week I could have a house open for sale. Posted on Craigslist. In the Standard Times classifieds. A cardboard sign on every main road.

The people would fill the place shoulder to shoulder. Browsing. Smiling and sharing reminders of their childhood. Kids would pick up useless junk and laugh. An hour later an old lady would buy the very same piece. Young and old alike were struck with a combination of nostalgia and bargain fever, but every person who walked through the door had one problem. They were all trying to forget someone died in that house not long ago.
Death never bothered me much.

There’s nothing wrong with dead stuff. Road kill could make a great hat if the bumper didn’t poke a hole in the pelt. It was awful hard to mess up a raccoon’s tail with a car and those rings looked pisser dangling down the back of your neck. When you were seventeen anyway. Or maybe twenty. The raccoon didn’t care. He was gone.
People were different. They knew death was coming and didn’t want to entertain the thought any longer than necessary. Sometimes they got angry when they died. Sometimes I could feel it. That night working in Mrs. Newbury’s house I swore the old lady was watching me. And she wasn’t happy about me rummaging through her stuff.

It wasn’t like she didn’t know I was coming. My parents had known her a long time. They went to school together back when Rochester kids went to New Bedford High. Decades ago.

A year ago she’d hired me to replace her kitchen cabinets. And she walked me through the house when I was done. Showed me her treasures. Pieces of scrimshaw squirreled away in the attic. Plates I had to Google to find out what they were worth. Mrs. Newbury had some great stuff. She knew her grandson, Newb, wouldn’t appreciate any of it. Her telling me was a sign she wanted me to make sure the valuable pieces weren’t thrown away.
Sometime between showing me her house and dying, she’d gotten angry and decided to take it out on my stomach. Maybe I was sleeping on Mr. Newbury’s side of the bed, but that shouldn’t have mattered. They were together in Heaven. Or at least they should have been.

Maybe she’d changed her mind about me selling her stuff to strangers. The closet cramped with fifty years of floral dresses and skirts. Two bureaus overflowing with scarves and socks and underwear. Boxes, purses, and shoe trees pressed into every available space. The clutter slumped against the walls parted just enough to reveal the oak flooring along the weaving path Mrs. Newbury followed to the bathroom. The night light’s glow gleamed off those precious few boards and my gaze fell there as I struggled to sleep in spite of being haunted.

Old people got out of bed to pee a lot. Well, they couldn’t pee a lot, that’s why they got up so often. Anyway, the thing they feared most was a fall at night when no one could hear them and come to help. If you’d seen my big blue coffee cup you’d know I needed to get up a time or two myself. And at three hundred twenty pounds, when I fell there was damage. So I left the night light on even though I wasn’t keen on anyone seeing me wrapped in the old lady’s pink comforter. I’d have been under the pink sheets and rose-patterned blankets, too, if I wasn’t so worried about bedbugs. The look wouldn’t have changed. Only the temperature.

It’d be just like Roxie to swing by for a little action and snap a picture from the doorway. She was a whiz with the Internet. She’d email it to all our friends before I could get dressed and chase her home.
Giving her a key to job sites was a risk, but who knows what’d happen in those old neighborhoods. Junkies read the obits. They’d hack out every length of copper from the cellar if they thought no one was home. If they caught me sleeping and roughed me up, maybe she’d call the cops and save my ass. More likely she’d come by to give me a piece of hers. Sadly, three days after Valentine’s my stomach hurt so much I hoped she wouldn’t come.

My gut rumbled and I pulled the comforter tighter. Damned unromantic.
Wind whistled against the toothless exterior and found its way in through gaps around the windows. I’d pitched the kid a siding and window replacement job, but the only thing the vulture wanted was his grandmother’s place gone in a rush. Forsythia slapped the shingles and tickled the glass. The bushes could have been cut back enough in a day so you could see the street from the windows. The briars and scrub out back mowed with a brush cutter in three hours. Two hundred bucks to triple the yard and jack up the sale price at least three times that. No deal. No cash was going into grandma’s house. He wanted me to wring out every penny. Every cent he could get without lifting a finger or spending a dime.

Thankless cheapskate I worked for. Even worse when he worked for me.
A knot in my gut twisted so tight I forgot my annoyance with the kid.

The cramps forced me to wrestle out of the comforter and lumber down the path, hunched over in the dark, cradling my gut in my arms. On my second step, something jabbed the meat of my right foot. It pressed in so deeply, I hopped and crashed my right shoulder into the doorframe.
I swiped at the sole of my foot, feeling for blood, expecting a staple or a tack. A bit of broken plastic was all I found. It bounced into a corner for me to step on again later. The jostling hurt so much I thought my stomach was going to erupt horizontally. I wished I’d just kept walking and let the plastic burrow its way in. It would have been a lot less painful.

Four hobbled steps carried me through the hall into a bathroom that had been designed for tiny old people. Her toilet was wedged in a corner between the closet and the window. I leaned against the wall. Ignored the ceramic toilet paper dispenser digging into my knee. The cold air rushing through the window. Balanced there in the dark, the pain radiated lower.

Giving birth had to feel like this. It hurt too much to push. It hurt too much not to push.

The contents of my bowels willed themselves free with a liquid rush that went on far longer than should have been humanly possible. Stuff I’d eaten days ago freed itself from my body in a torrent that released so much pressure it felt as good as any orgasm.

Then my entire body seized in a cramp that folded me in half.

Women complain about cramps like it’s the end of the world. If this was what having a period was like, I’d take back every menstrual joke I ever told.

Forty minutes later I was still sitting there with the seat jammed so firmly into my backside the impression wouldn’t fade for a week. I’ll spare you the details, but stuff kept squirting out of me until I swore my intestines were inside out, hanging down there in the bowl getting a rinse.

I hate doctors almost as much as I hate health plans and the government sponsored socialist crap that forced me to pay for something I didn’t want so some lowlife could get free healthcare. My right elbow had hurt for two years before that night and I hadn’t seen a doctor yet. I’d rather wake up wincing in pain than pay some rich boy two hundred bucks to talk with me for seven minutes.
That night it hurt so badly I might have called an ambulance if I could have gotten my pants back on. Might have driven myself in if I could have taken a step away from the porcelain throne, but I was tethered by unrelenting cramps and the fear of my insides splashing all over everything if I stood up.
I clutched my gut and leaned forward, praying that somehow the pain would pass and I’d make it back to bed. Sleep would set me right. Little did I know sleep was coming in a rush. A nasty cramp hunched me right over forward and my foot slipped.

The bolt of pain in my groin erased any memory of the cramps. Blinding, mind-erasing pain that only men experience. My arms shot down to catch myself on the seat and free my crushed testicle.

The toilet seat broke free under my weight and I leapfrogged forward. The sharp edge of the vanity creased my forehead. That was the last pain I felt that night. My vision faded like an old tube TV, closing in from the outside to a point of light. As I lost consciousness I had the distinct feeling the old woman was cackling with delight.

Interview with J. B. Miller, author of No Time for Love

Tell us about your novel, No Time For Love:


No Time For Love is a romantic comedy about a young mother who has no time for herself due to her three kid’s crazy schedules, her demanding work as an independent advertising consultant and her less than successful attempts to get into shape.  Her close friend, Trip, who has become part of the family after her husband died unexpectedly, is secretly in love with Chatham. She has no idea. The problem is that there is another very attractive foreigner who just might steal her heart. At some point Chatham has to choose and in that process she faces excitement, adventure, disappointment and, well, the reader will have to read the book to see how it all turns out.


Where did you get your material for No Time For Love?


I have always been told that we should write about what we know, and I know about mother’s secret lives of chaos. When it comes to love, most mothers put that on the back burner too. In No Time For Love, readers can indulge another woman’s chaotic existence and know that not only is their life not so bad, but in the end no matter what life may deal you, love finds a way. I also use locations that are familiar so that I can write with accuracy.


How involved to you get with your writing?


I write as though I am watching a movie. I literally become the characters. I feel them move, know what they think and see their interactions unfold. The movie is basically made in my mind by the time I am done writing.


What other authors do you admire?


I love Nicholas Sparks. He writes from what he knows and in locations where he is familiar. I love how he brings anticipation to his books. While Sparks’ books are dramas and my novel is more comedic in nature, I endeavor to bring forth a sense of desire, urgency and hopefulness in my writing.


What else are you working on now?


I actually just finished a non-fiction book entitled HIRED! Expert Advice From a Leading Wall Street Recruiter. Now you know what I do for my day job.


Why did you write it?


Because I would like to help people get back to work. HIRED! is a very clear and concise guide that will show a person how to put their best foot forward.


Did you ever consider having your main character in your novel be a Recruiter?


I considered it, yet earlier in my career I was in television and I felt that the main character was more akin to that occupation.


Are there any writers that you would consider as mentors?


I have a first cousin who is a best selling author. His books are in every bookstore, airport and big box outlet around the world. I admire him tremendously and am very proud of his accomplishments.


Who is he?


He prefers to keep private so I will just say that he is in the thriller genre.


Do you have a specific writing style?


I believe that we are all so bombarded with demands for our attention that short passages work best. I wanted my story to move along so the chapters are short and the focus is on propelling the action forward.


What book are you reading now? 50 Shades of Gray?


Funny you should mention that book. It is on my bedside but I have only read chapter one. I am finishing up the biography of Steve Jobs and a book a close friend of mine wrote about the Hale Department Store family.


What about your cousin’s books – are you reading those?


Oh, I have read them all. I am actually a character in his first two.


Is there any advice you have for other writers?


Stick with it. See and feel the characters and have fun along the way.


Thank you so much for joining us J.B.

Ladies and gentleman, J.B. Miller, author of ‘No Time For Love.’

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and all E-Reading platforms.


About the Author:

J.B. Miller is a published author of fiction, non-fiction, award-winning poetry, music, and numerous articles and blogs. No Time For Love is her first novel. She resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children.

Visit her blog at

About the Book:


Chatham Ross has no time – for anything, least of all love. She manages her three kid’s demanding schedules, exercises at crazy hours to preserve her less than perfect figure and writes catchy advertising jingles to pay for the mortgage. To the outside world, she seems to have it all – except for a husband. Who has time for that? Besides, hers died unexpectedly five years ago and she’s still not over it. A chance occurrence with a particular jingle finds Chatham on a bi-coastal roller coaster that she can’t seem to put the breaks on. Will the man who has always secretly loved her finally have his chance to ride along? Or will the very handsome foreigner on the other side of the country claim her wounded heart? At some point she has to choose which path is for her – or has it been there all along?


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Check out my review of this book in an earlier post!

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